Front Matter The Lady Roma The She-Wolf The Twin Boys Numitor's Grandson The Sacred Birds The Founding of Rome The Sabine Maidens The Tarpeian Rock The Mysterious Gate The King Disappears The Peace-Loving King Horatius Slays His Sister Pride of Tullus Hostilius King Who Fought and Prayed The Faithless Friend A Slave Becomes a King Cruel Deed of Tullia Fate of the Town of Gabii Books of the Sibyl Industry of Lucretia Death of Lucretia Sons of Brutus Horatius Cocles Mucius Burns Right Hand The Divine Twins The Tribunes Coriolanus and His Mother The Roman Army in a Trap The Hated Decemvirs The Death of Verginia The Friend of the People Camillus Captures Veii The Statue of the Goddess Schoolmaster Traitor Battle of Allia The Sacred Geese The City Is Rebuilt Volscians on Fire Battle on the Anio The Curtian Lake Dream of the Two Consuls The Caudine Forks Caudine Forks Avenged Fabius among the Hills Battle of Sentinum Son of Fabius Loses Battle Pyrrhus King of the Epirots Elephants at Heraclea Pyrrthus and Fabricius Pyrrhus is Defeated Romans Build a Fleet Battle of Ecnomus Roman Legions in Africa Regulus Taken Prisoner Romans Conquer the Gauls The Boy Hannibal Hannibal Invades Italy Hannibal Crosses the Alps Battle of Trebia Battle of Lake Trasimenus Hannibal Outwits Fabius Fabius Wins Two Victories Battle of Cannae Despair of Rome Defeat of Hasdrubal Claudius Enjoy a Triumph Capture of New Carthage Scipio Sails to Africa Romans Set Fire to Camp Hannibal Leaves Italy The Battle of Zama Scipio Receives a Triumph Flamininus in Garlands Death of Hannibal Hatred of Cato for Carthage The Stern Decree Carthaginians Defend City Destruction of Carthage Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi Tiberius and Octavius Death of Tiberius Gracchus Death of Gaius Gracchus The Gold of Jugurtha Marius Wins Notice of Scipio Marius Becomes Commander Capture of Treasure Towns Capture of Jugurtha Jugurtha Brought to Rome Marius Conquers Teutones Marius Mocks the Ambassadors Metellus Driven from Rome Sulla Enters Rome The Flight of Marius Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius Marius Returns to Rome The Orator Aristion Sulla Besieges Athens Sulla Fights the Samnites The Proscriptions of Sulla The Gladiators' Revolt The Pirates Pompey Defeats Mithridates Cicero Discovers Conspiracy Death of the Conspirators Caesar Captured by Pirates Caesar Gives up Triumph Caesar Praises Tenth Legion Caesar Wins a Great Victory Caesar Invades Britain Caesar Crosses Rubicon Caesar and the Pilot The Flight of Pompey Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr Caesar is Loaded with Honours Nobles Plot against Caesar The Assassination of Caesar Brutus Speaks to Citizens Antony Speaks to Citizens The Second Triumvirate Battle of Philippi Death of Brutus Antony and Cleopatra Battle of Actium Antony and Cleopatra Die Emperor Augustus

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor

Brutus Speaks to the Citizens

When the terrible deed was done, Brutus wished to tell those senators, who had known nothing of the plot, why it had been necessary to murder the Dictator.

But they, horrified with the murder, and dismayed that they had been unable to aid Cæsar, were in no mood to listen to the conspirators. They fled indeed from the Senate-house, not knowing what fate awaited them, and too sad perhaps to greatly care.

Not far from the Senate-house they met Mark Antony, Cæsar's most faithful friend, who had been purposely kept away from the meeting. They told him what had befallen Cæsar, and he and many others of Cæsar's friends hid themselves, lest the conspirators should wish to murder them also. But they need not have feared, for it was Cæsar's life alone that had been doomed.

As the senators had not stayed to listen to their explanations, the conspirators now determined to tell the people that Cæsar was dead.

So they marched through the streets crying that the tyrant had been killed, and bidding all those who loved the Republic to join them.

But the citizens turned away, with scarcely concealed horror, and hurrying into their shops and houses, shut the doors.

They had seen Cæsar that very morning. It could not be true that he was indeed dead, as Brutus said. In awed whispers they spoke of him to one another, and many wept, for now they forgot their suspicions, and remembered only that they had loved Cæsar, and that he had been their friend.

The next day, when the people assembled in the Forum, Brutus spoke to them. He told them, not of the dead Cæsar's faults, but of the Republic and its needs, and the people listened in silence.

But when Brutus sat down, another of the conspirators began to speak, accusing Cæsar of one crime after another. This was more than the people could bear. The interruptions grew louder and more threatening every moment, until at length the conspirators, fearing that a riot would take place, fled to the Capitol for safety.

On the following morning the Senate met, and Antony, caring no longer to hide, was seen walking through the streets toward the Senate-house. The people feared for his safety, because he had been the friend of Cæsar, and begged him to beware, lest he too was murdered. But he lifted his toga that they might see that he was clad in armour.

Even to meet the Senate, the conspirators did not venture to leave the Capitol, but they sent Cicero to be their spokesman.

Cicero's eloquence may have moved the senators. In any case, Mark Antony, who was one of the Consuls, agreed that the conspirators should be received in peace.

It was also arranged that Cæsar should be given a public funeral.

Antony was now content. As Consul, he would speak at Cæsar's funeral, and he did not doubt his power to rouse the passions of the people against the murderers of his friend. Cassius foresaw what Antony would do, and tried to stir the fears of Brutus. But in this he failed.

As the Senate had agreed to receive the conspirators, and as the people were in the meantime pacified, they now ventured to leave the Capitol, and even to enter the Forum.

When the funeral day arrived, before Antony brought the body of his friend into the Forum, Brutus spoke once again to the assembled citizens, seeking this time to tell them why he had had anything to do with the murder of Cæsar whom he had loved. Here are his words, as Shakespeare tells them to us:—

'Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause, and be silent that you may hear. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer:—Not that I love Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more.

'As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his ambition.'

With these and many other words Brutus so pleased the people, that it did not seem likely that they would care to listen to what Antony had to say.

'Live Brutus, live Brutus!' shouted the crowds, well content for the moment with the defence which he had made.